By Keith Antonysen
Various contrarian opinions are based on the fundamental premise of anthropogenic climate change in relation to how light interacts with radiated infrared. Seth Miller, a scientist, provides some history; and then, criteria in relation to how science matters can be rationally evaluated (1). Seth Miller uses 9 criteria to show the strength of the science in relation to the greenhouse impact of carbon dioxide (2).
Experimentation has provided credence to the notion of CO2 and how it interacts with radiated infrared, Seth Miller’s article discusses computer experimentation (3); while, a number of physical experiments have also taken place beginning with Eunice Foote (4).
Scientists when they write up their research do so for the benefit of their peers, not for lay people who have no expertise.
It is very clear that lay persons often misinterpret science, for any credible argument to be made the criteria provided by Seth Miller need to be met (5).
The Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) has stated: “Our window of time to act on climate may be shrinking even faster than previously thought” (6). The MCC has come to the conclusion that with the most pessimistic assessment that carbon emissions will extend temperature up to 1.5C over pre-Industrial levels within a year (7). The optimistic view expressed by the MCC is that it will take emissions 4 years before the 1.5C mark is reached (8).
In relation to 2C above pre-Industrial levels the MCC indicates that the most pessimistic view is that it will take 9 years to reach the mark (9). The more optimistic view is that it will take 23 years to reach 2C above pre-Industrial levels (10).
Anton Vaks et al studied cave structure in permafrost areas, areas where permafrost has been intermittent; as well as, caves where permafrost has not been evident (11, 12). Their research found that 1.5C above pre-Industrial levels was a temperature when permafrost began to thaw (13).
The issue being that permafrost areas contain huge amounts of carbon and methane.
A recent study in relation to soils has found that soils are expelling CO2 at quite an alarming rate (14, 15).
“Here we present a comprehensive analysis of warming-induced changes in soil carbon stocks by assembling data from 49 field experiments located across North America, Europe and Asia. We find that the effects of warming are contingent on the size of the initial soil carbon stock, with considerable losses occurring in high-latitude areas.”16
“Under the conservative assumption that the response of soil carbon to warming occurs within a year, a business-as-usual climate scenario would drive the loss of 55 ± 50 petagrams of carbon from the upper soil horizons by 2050” (17).
The Washington Post explains that as soils become warmer microbes increase their rate of respiration leading to an increase in methane and CO2 (18).
The N-ICE2015 Research Team ventured into the Arctic to overwinter from January till June 2015 on the Ice Breaker Lance (19). They were able to show how ice structure is at risk of being melted during storms; storms create upwelling of denser warmer waters which then impacts on sea ice (20).
“Atlantic water (~+3.0°C) that flows into the Arctic Ocean west of Svalbard is relatively heavy and it sinks down to below the fresher and colder Arctic water. If left alone, it ends up at 70 m depth – where it melts little ice! But it isn’t left alone.
Storms over open water mix the ocean and bring the warm Atlantic water to the surface. The same storms set the ice adrift, which also causes mixing. Storms in the Arctic can be fierce….” (21).
Satellite technology is able to display ocean level rise, and temperature of oceans (22). The so-called “hiatus” did not occur, oceans were taking in temperature while surface temperatures were not increasing as quickly as they had previously (23).
For climate change contrarians to have any real arguments, they need to show how the 9 criteria outlined by Seth Miller are met.
The Arctic influences climate of the Northern Hemisphere particularly. Upwelling of warm waters off Antarctica is causing melting of ice sheets from below has been noted. Oceans comprise about 70% of the Earths surface; they store huge amounts of energy. The prospect of stopping temperature increasing over 2C above pre-Industrial times is almost impossible without huge changes being made. Coal must stay in the ground, gas needs to be phased out, and transport needs to be changed to electric power. Currently politicians are fiddling at the edges, when strong policies are needed.
About the author: Keith Antonysen is retired. He is a keen gardener, photographer, and recreational fisher. The Vietnam War and later the flooding of Lake Pedder created an interest in politics which led to a passion for social justice issues. Currently very concerned about lack of action on climate change. Not a paid up member of any political party.